Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday Night Social

We're on as usual for food and fun after work tonight. Dinner is yet to be decided, but it should be something passable. Hope to see you later!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wheel Sale!

It's sale time of year. Fall brought us a lovely 38 deg morning today, and that means it's time to start paring down inventory for winter.

I've got several pairs of really nice Bontrager Tubeless 29er wheels in a few flavors that need to find good homes. Here's what I've got. Let me know if you're interested.

Bontrager Rhythm Elite Disc. These are great wheels for normal XC riding. Built on DT Swiss hubs with DT Competition Spokes laced to Bontrager's 500gm, 29mm wide Duster rim, these offer a lot of performance for little cost. I have two sets of these, one pair of stock wheels, and another set up with XDX 2.1" tires Tubeless.

Price for the pair without tires shipped Con US is $SOLD. Price with Tires shipped Con US is $SOLD.

The next sets I have in stock are 2009 Bontrager Race Light Tubeless Wheels. These are built around the same hubs and spokes as the above, but with narrower, lighter rims. Both sets of these are New in the box, and prices would be $SOLD.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hello from Interbike.

Sean and I have been really busy in the past few weeks getting everything ready for today. The bikes are here and look great. The booth is set up and ready to go. We're set to open to the public in about an hour, and everything has gone great so far.

As far as Vegas goes, it's all I remember. I'm not a huge fan of crowds, loud environments, or flocks of typical tourists. That give you an idea of how much I like this place. All that said though, it's been a good trip thus far. I had the booth set up and ready to go on Monday, which allowed me to hang out and talk with a ton of people yesterday at the Dirt Demo. Since many of those same people will be quite busy for the rest of the week, (myself included,) it was a nice chance to chew the fat before we get really swamped.

A little on the Rawland bikes this year. If you've followed Rawland from the beginning you know that we're all about comfortable, versatile, and affordable performance bikes. This year's bikes take that philosophy to a whole new level. I'll let the Rawland website detail specifics, but the bottom line is these are lighter, smoother, are a step up in terms of looks as well.

Both the Ravn and Drakkar are built from Columbus Zona tubing this year. This dropped quite bit of weight from the frame, and really adds a lot of compliance. The bikes this year are disc only. I know there are people who still really favor canti mounts, but it's become clear in many respects that discs are the future. Going disc specific combined with this year's new dropouts make rack and fender mounting completely unobstructed. Both rack and fenders will mount without any adaptors needed.

New this year are hourglass cable adjusters located on the headtube rather than the downtube. These position the adjusters in a very natural position, are lighter weight, look cleaner when running SS, and generally work better than their downtube counterparts. Headtube reinforcing rings and bottle boss star reinforcements add a touch of old school class to the bikes as well.

In celebration of the new bikes, we are offering a very limited time offer to preorder the frameset of your choice at a significant discount! This is only around for a few days, so act quickly if you're interested.


All for now. Take care.

If you're coming to the show we're booth 2259. Stop by and say hi.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rawland Saturday.

First off, my apologies. To say it's been a crazy week would be a gross understatement. I don't want to count how many hours of work Ive got on the clock this week, but everything got done. The Rawlands are totally to die for. Both bikes are finished and will be displayed in Northfield this afternoon in Northfield. Flyer is listed below. We will have a small collection of Repack artifacts owned by local shop owner Mike Moyer on display as well. These are pretty darn cool, and many have never been seen publicly. More tonight after the show, then off to Interbike tomorrow afternoon. Cheers.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Quick Helmet Review.

So I like it. I know it's ugly, but I like it. The lack of vents on the top center of the helmet make it noticeably warmer than my Genesis, which is to be expected. Given that I'm really looking for this to be a colder weather helmet, that should be a nice thing. I like the lights on it a lot. People that looked at it commented on what a nice feature that was, (usually after that laughter stopped.) Still, after riding on busy streets though traffic, I felt like I was more visible. All in all, I'm happy. The parts of the helmet that make it look funny translate to well thought out design from a riders perspective. I'll post a bit more after I've ridden it a while, but it's all good for the ugly helmet so far. Happy Friday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ugly Helmet Lovin.

So I've been taking my own advice seriously lately. I'm a guy who has a lot of helmets, they just seem to accumulate over the years. It starts with having one nice helmet. After forgetting said helmet between the shop, two cars and home enough times, you buy another. Life is good for a while. You have a helmet at both places, both are nice and fit well, and generally you've got your bases covered. Then you crash; time for a new helmet.

So you buy another helmet, this one being much newer and nice than your old one, you try and bring that with you for those big rides when it counts. Invariably, throughout all of this time passes. As anyone who has worked in the industry knows, helmets should be replaced about 3-5 years just to be safe. My time is up on several helmets.

I have a Lazer Genesis that I just love for serious riding. It's the most comfortable helmet I've ever worn, mostly due to their lack of weight and a superb fit system. What I'm really looking to replace is the helmet used for Big Dummy cruising and grocery getting. Most of my riding is going to be done after work, in the dark for the next 5 months. I'm a big fan of lights for crash avoidance, and because I like blinking, it's fun.

So, which helmet did I pick? Here you go. In all of it's dorktastic glory, the Lazer Urbanize Night in Racing Stripe Blue!Alright, polarizing I know. This is bike geek taken a little too far. Your eyes may be bleeding I know. I gotta say though, it's really growing on me. I'm not one to think that I'm looking good anyway carrying furniture on a wheeled Christmas tree of a bike at night anyway. What's an ugly helmet going to hurt? Much like the other Lazer helmets I own, this one is down right comfortable.The helmet is really eye catching, both because of it's used soap bar lines, it's bright color with racing stripes, and the flashing lights at both ends. The fit is excellent, with tons of room even with my large German squash of a head. Putting various winter accouterments and paraphernalia on under this will be no issue here at all.So there you go. My ugly helmet confession is complete. I'll let you know how it all works out, and whether I'm pulled from the bike in a public display of fashion rejection, at least I'll be seen.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

New Pinball High Score.

Curt set this blisteringly high score this morning. Awesome. Challengers are invited to come try their hand tomorrow night, any takers?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Time to get new tires.

Had these come in on Saturday. Tires cracking from dry rot is not all that unusual. These, however, were something special. The casing even cracked under the tread when I removed them from the rims. Nice.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Rawland Fall Gravel Tour Recon

Jim and I did some early morning recon yesterday for the annual Rawland Gravel Tour. Jim has put together a superb route for us this year. We'll hit all of the favorite haunts of the Rawland crew, while adding about 20 miles of really great roads and some new stuff in between. After hearty breakfast at The Tavern, (best $4 breakfast in Northfield,) we headed for Dennison in the rally Jetta.

The morning was a stunning one. It wasn't yet 50 deg when we left the smell of Blue Monday coffee and downtown. The sun was just starting to rise over fog blanketed rolling fields. Trees poked out of high stops in waves. Without much in the way of perspective, they might as well have been mountains sticking through.

The car seemingly floated between layers of fog as we past through Dennison. Just outside of town we started in on the dirt. Almost immediately it was apparent just how dry it's been here lately. Flying along at all of 45, the Volkswagen kicked up a steady stream of dust that gravel riders know far too well. Despite the dry conditions, the roads for the most part are in really amazing shape. Most of them have very little rutting and are quite smooth. A few have some pretty loose gravel, which presented a few interesting turns and descents! The car only slid a little bit a few times, but Jim was sure that I had it under control. I slowed down a bit after that.

In total the course as it sits is a little over 60 miles, right about 100k. We plan to pre-ride the course, but I think that even with the added mileage it will be more ride able than last year. A lot of the brutal hills are a bit more spread out, and there are pretty good rest stretches between them. The ride also has mostly flat warm up and cool down lengths coming into an out of town.

Here's the GPs plots to get an idea of ride route. No details yet until we finalize it. Only one section of about 1.5 miles is ridden twice. It's also about the only tar on the route. There's some other, but that's nigh impossible to get around.
Topo elevation. About 3300 ft total, nice and rolly for the most part.
The whole morning looked like this. What a way to start the day.
That flag is part of a self made golf hole. We saw 3 or 4 farms that had something like this, very cool. Note the nice smooth gravel, even for the inside of a corner.

More scenery and smooth road.
One of the many stream crossings.
Filtered light on my favorite road, Shady Lane Trail. Appropriate name huh?

It's bigger than it looks.
Getting there.
Not quite to the top.
The top is just around the left here. A killer hill, and one of the most beautiful roads in Goodhue County I think.
More water coming down off of the bluff.
Here's one of the widest roads on the route. This series of hills continues growing in intensity for a long bit. It will be on of the more challenging sections of the ride.
We are planning on hosting this ride either the third or fourth weekend in October, on whichever Sunday. I will update you as soon as Tuesday on the confirmed date. All are welcome, camping is available at Nerstrand State Park. This is a no drop, recreational, easy paced tour. We will be providing some sort of a food stop at a yet undetermined part of the ride, but it will be primarily self supported. If you have any questions, shoot me an email at benwitt11@gmail.com. Have a great holiday weekend.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Rawland Release Party.

Sean and Anna are throwing a release party for the new 2010 Rawland Models, the Ravn and Drakkar. Hope you all can come, every on is invited. Stop down and check out the new bikes, grab some good food, and help us carry Rawland into Interbike!

Great old commercial.

Gotta love the 80's.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Drink Fat Tire.

So I won. I've haven't really ever won anything of note, and this is of note. I guess it pays to patronize the local beer shop. For the last two years they've had a drawing for a New Belgium Brewing beer bike. Here's the new one. It's all stock save for the tires, it comes with little ones. Very cool. Cheers.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Hump Day

Our new shop guy Logan started work this week. An aspiring Cat 4 racer attending Gustavus College, he's a welcome addition to the shop crew. Logan will be with us off and on through the fall as he's able, and will be at the shop all next summer unless something changes. Stop by and welcome him on tonight. Back by popular demand, ham's on the menu for the social again tonight. There may be updates further into the day, but stop by tonight if you can. Take care.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Duluth Ramblings.

Meg and I took a short trip to Duluth this weekend. The plan had been to take the Big Dummy and trial the Antlers on Duluth's killer hills, but with rain all the way up thoughts of the BD exposed on car rack lead me to my Ravn prototype. The weather all weekend was perfect from there out. Sunny with broken clouds and 65 degrees was just perfect for a relaxing cruise.

I love just cruising around different cities. It's almost impossible to get lost in Duluth, and there are a plethora of cool places not often trod. Under bridges, through old industrial parks, and down towards the wharfs there are all sorts of cool things to take in. Being a fairly large port, the area around the docks is really interesting to me. You can't get much different in terms of scenery compared to here than that. I spent most of Sunday morning simply getting lost, taking little roads until I encountered no trespassing signs, and generally enjoying doing nothing at all.

The old buildings and bridges are just awesome to take in. There are tons of old boat slips, rusting iron, spilled taconite pellets along railroad tracks, and little green places where you wouldn't expect them. With nothing at all to do but wander, it was a perfect Sunday. Here are the shots. I didn't have the good camera with, (something that's definitely coming next time,) but I thought these turned out pretty good. Happy Tuesday all.

I hung out drinking some coffee under I-35 underpasses for a while. Minimal no trespassing signs here, I figured I was good. Really cool lighting with a surprising amount of greenery, really cool. This is the place I most wished for a good camera, I'll be back.
Cool perspective. I would have hated to be the guy responsible for designing all this! Works well driving and looks cool to boot though.
Old hydrant next to the switch yard. Really stern no trespassing signs!Years of spilled taconite pellets.
Old bridge next to a iron ore slip. The wood and iron were just awesome.
Rawland Ravn in silhouette. I am continually impressed by this bike. Full release on these soon!